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A Wizard’s Arcane Bond (the Object)


Races & Classes


If I ever attempt to cast a spell without my arcane bond (assuming it’s the object version), I can lose it with a failed Spellcraft check. Looking at the other choice (the familiar), and the lack of such a restriction, I’m having trouble seeing how this is an appealing choice.

In exchange, it offers me one casting per day of a spell I know. I’m assuming this means the same thing as giving me one additional spell slot above my normal total (subject to the no-metamagic-feats-or-a-prohibited-school restriction). I can also enchant it without spending the appropriate feat and at half the cost.

Seems rather lackluster when viewed with "Do I dare to cast a spell when I don't have my arcane object with me?" What am I missing?

What is this supposed to be emulating anyway?


Object bond offers a free spell per day and enhancement at half price. If you lose it, you need to make spellcraft rolls.

A familiar offers a bonus feat. If it dies, you're screwed.

The way I see it, the only reason to take a familiar is flavor. The item bond is better in almost every other respect. (Don't want to lose it? Make it a ring. Or a tooth filling.)


Kirth Gersen wrote:

Object bond offers a free spell per day and enhancement at half price. If you lose it, you need to make spellcraft rolls.

A familiar offers a bonus feat. If it dies, you're screwed.

The way I see it, the only reason to take a familiar is flavor. The item bond is better in almost every other respect. (Don't want to lose it? Make it a ring. Or a tooth filling.)

Wait, you mean that Pathfinder is taking the same route with Familiars that WotC did with Psycrystals?

Um, consider this a vote for "No, don't do that. Make Familiars revivable/replacable. If they ever introduce Psycrystals, then Ditto."

Furthermore, let's not make a Wizard have to choose between an item that I dare not lose or my spells are kaput, and a creature that I can't replace. I say this thinking of the Arcane Bloodline Sorcerer, too.

Unfortunately, I can't really suggest an alternative because I can't think of what the dependence on the magic item is supposed to represent. Is this like in Harry Potter, where the wizards needed a wand to do pretty much 90% of their magic?

Andoran

I like it...its a 'flavor choice' do you want a familiar or an item...whats your role playing choice?

dont like it? take familiar and then dont summon one...

granted thats like saying Im a rogue but I dont want lock picks...but thats just me


Tectorman wrote:
Unfortunately, I can't really suggest an alternative because I can't think of what the dependence on the magic item is supposed to represent. Is this like in Harry Potter, where the wizards needed a wand to do pretty much 90% of their magic?

FWIW, a ring or an amulet can be left on 7/24 and are quite difficult to lose.

It's a feature. No one is going to force you to use it. Take the familiar and never summon one as many people did under 3.5.

Edit: just noticed I got ninjaed on the part about skipping the familiar


Or take a simple wooden ring.
Never enchant it.

You get 1 spell per day /from your spell book/ that you can cast, on the spot, without preparation. That is a *big* boost.

Never enchant it, it doesn't detect magic, and so will likely be overlooked when folks loot you. (assuming you die or get captured in the first place).

Wear 2 magic rings.. and the (unenchanted) arcane object. You are good to go. Even another mage would probably think one of the magic ones was *the* one, especially of the "other" ring had your family crest or some other such mundane emblem on it.

Or as they said- in 3.5 you could simply not summon a familiar. Take that option here if you don't want to mess with either one. I can certainly see the appeal in some campaigns to not adding another "achilles heel" to the wizard.

-S


Every sufficiently high-level wizard is going to want an arcane bond with three words: staff of power. They can craft it for 1/4 the market price, and they don't even need the crafting feats. (They'd still need Heighten Spell, but, hey, nothing is perfect.)


Note that in Pathfinder Alpha 3, you don't lose XP if your familiar dies.

Pathfinder Alpha 3 wrote:
If the subject of an arcane bond is lost or destroyed, it can be replaced after 1 week’s time in a special ritual that costs 200 gp per wizard level. This ritual takes 8 hours to complete.

It doesn't say "bonded object", it says "subject of an arcane bond", which can be an object or a familiar. Remember, Pathfinder has eliminated all game rules that cause actual XP loss.


RickSummon wrote:

Note that in Pathfinder Alpha 3, you don't lose XP if your familiar dies.

Pathfinder Alpha 3 wrote:
If the subject of an arcane bond is lost or destroyed, it can be replaced after 1 week’s time in a special ritual that costs 200 gp per wizard level. This ritual takes 8 hours to complete.
It doesn't say "bonded object", it says "subject of an arcane bond", which can be an object or a familiar. Remember, Pathfinder has eliminated all game rules that cause actual XP loss.

So you can reaquire a familiar if your previous dies? Whew. I was worried.

Still, while the player can always say, "Well, I'll just play with a familiar in order to not be gimped", I still have to ask why he should be gimped in the first place.

I'd rather the choice for preference be a choice for preference and not between less optimal and more optimal. A wizard player should be able to pick a familiar over an object without the reason being "because losing a familiar doesn't hamper my primary class abilities". A wizard player with an object should be able to pick a ring without the reason being "because rings are less likely to be lost, so I don't have to worry about my primary class abilities being affected".


There are many reasons to choose either option. If you choose to only see the strict spell-casting mechanical aspect of it, there isn't much we can do about it.

Why take a familiar over a bonded object?
Bonus feat.
Bonus to skills.
A 2nd pair of eyes/ears to see/hear things (familiars get skill checks too!).
Scout!
Companion and friend.

The reason to take a familiar is only "'cuz i didn't want a bonded object" if you Let that be the only reason. Familiars can be alot of fun, and all my arcane casters end up with one. (currently, my halfling wizard has a pseudodragon familiar who's longer than the wizard is tall..)

Your choices in the game don't have to be for pure mechanical manipulation of the game rules. "That is fun", "That makes for a good RP" and such, are just as much "good reasons" as the number crunching.

-S


Selgard wrote:
Your choices in the game don't have to be for pure mechanical manipulation of the game rules. "That is fun", "That makes for a good RP" and such, are just as much "good reasons" as the number crunching.

Hopefully no one will argue with that statement; it is, or should be, self-evident to everyone who plays the game. I would like to see, however, mechanics that match flavor options more or less evenly, so that mechanical manipulation ceases to be an issue altogether. A good rule system does not present one option that's flavorful and offers a minor mechanical advantage, and a second option that's equally flavorful, but offers a far greater mechanical advantage -- that's just bad design.

So, flavor issues aside (I'd argue that a wizard's staff is just as iconic and just as flavorful as a black cat), I disagree that Alertness + Skill Focus + scout (read: dead familiar if your DM's monsters act reasonably and go after the free food) = free spell + half-price enhancement. If, in your game, familiars are not attacked by the mosters they're scouting on, and their masters can see out of their eyes, etc., then they probably are as good as (or even better than) items, mechanically -- but be aware that in many campaigns, they're simply not as good.


I can't see out of my familiar's eyes, but my familiar can communicate with me. She can fly out, scout the scene, come back, and report. She's reasonbly intelligent and a relatively good scout- more so after I cast Invisibility on her.

You will get as much utility out of your familiar as you choose to. Not every scout animal gets attacked.

When I say scout, I'm not talking "rogue" stalking through the dungeon. In those situations my familiar is always close at hand, if not safely hiding in a Familiar Pocket spell. But not every thing you get is 100% useful. Familiars aren't so good in dungeons- but are excellent outside. Cats can see better than people, dogs can smell better than people, bats can fly and "see" (so to speak) in the dark.. they make relatively good scouts who can go out, see, come back, and report. Is it 100% reliable?.. No, they may get distracted. But familiars are able to speak with their masters by level 5 and have an 8 intelligence, minimum. Not a genius to be sure, but more than able to tell you "they went into a cave", or "3 big green smelly guys are sitting around the campfire".

If the DM persecutes familiars continually then it's a problem with the DM, and that isn't an issue Paizo- or any rule- can solve. That same DM will persecute you for choosing an arcane object. He'll have you sundered, robbed, stripped and stolen from routinely just to make you wiggle. They are the same DM's who will ensure that spell books get stolen and that clerics get their holysymbols pickpocketed.

Some problems can't be solved by the rules. Sometimes the DM's need to take a step back and stop trying to penalize the players.
(which isn't to say that familiars never get attacked, that items never get sundered, that spellbooks or holy symbols never get stolen- but if it happens with such prevalence that you are going to frame some of the primary abilities of your class around its prevention then you have a serious problem on your hands. Sometimes bad things happen- sometimes DM's persecute class choices. There is a difference)

The "mechanics" of a familiar can be very beneficial. The mechanics of an arcane object can be very beneficial. They are very different from one another, but that doesn't necessarily make one better than the other. The familiar is only "vastly inferior" if all you use it for is a fuzzy critter to sit on your shoulder and play with when nothing else is going on. If you take advantage of the familiar and treat it- and use it- like the sentient, capable creature that it is, then it can be not only a good addition to the adventuring party, but a fun one too. </run on sentence>

-S


Selgard wrote:
Not every scout animal gets attacked.

I'll admit that I've had a bad experience in that regard: send familiar to scout ahead -- familiar spotted by monster and eaten -- and, worse, at high level, familiar killed by symbol of death, wail of the banshee, horrid wilting, etc. (because improved evasion applies only against effects allowing Reflex saves, and the SR at that level isn't usually enough to help). I finally took to just leaving them at home whenever I went adventuring.

I wouldn't say all DMs I've played with have been out to kill the familiars, but they weren't giving them free passes or blanket immunity from harm, either. Wizards have low hp to begin with, and the familiar has only half of those!

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alas, my familiars have often ended up like the raven in OOTS . . . remembered only on occasion, and serving to exist only because the rules didn't provide otherwise.

When Paizo ran Dragon Magazine, it came out with a magic staff as an option to familiar. Loved it.

The step to Arcane Bonded Object is a signficant simplification of the Paizo Dragon Magazine variant, but equally appetizing.


There is a non-OGL spell "familiar pocket"..

is *awesome* for protecting your familiar.

If we were in danger (i.e. in a dungeon), the familiar was in the pocket unless we were sleeping or she had a specific mission.

No matter what level you are, the familiar is very VERY weak.. Anything that you dun wanna get hit by, she definitely doesn't.

I absolutely adore that spell.

(the various familiar enhancements from various sources help, too.. but that's not OGL either, i don't think)

-S


Selgard wrote:
There is a non-OGL spell "familiar pocket" is *awesome* for protecting your familiar.

Thanks! I'll have to look for that one. If I could keep a familiar alive through one whole adventure, it might be worth having (although I still think it should have some bearing on the wizard's class functions, because otherwise it's as out-of-place mechanically as a barbarian being able to levitate).

Andoran

After reading this thread, I did a forum search on arcane bond - there are a ton of threads, all asking pretty much the same few questions and they are all VERY GOOD questions. The problem is, the threads are all being 'answered' by fellow players and not by Jason or other Paizo staff.

I find this a bit odd. While many of the proposed answers might be reasonalble, they are just proposals and are not official.

The fact that these questions continue to be asked is evidence that this very cool idea of an arcane bond desperately needs OFFICIAL CLARIFICATION from Jason and Co.

My question is, why are we not getting these answers? Even if it's simply a statement like "this has been clarified in the Beta" or something (which I'm really hoping is the case!)

I'm not trying to sound negative - in fact, I LOVE what Paizo has done and I'm a pretty vocal fan of Paizo and the Pathfinder RPG. I'm just trying to figure out why we are getting pretty much no response to these arcane bond questions when it's painfully obvious we need them.

Jason and Paizo, PLEASE throw us a bone here:

1. Please clarify how magical enchantment works when related to an arcane bond.

2. Please clarify exactly what "A bonded object can be used once per day to cast any one spell that the wizard knows, just as if the wizard had cast it" means.

3. Please let us know how these rules differ from arcane bond vs. a familiar.

4. Please let us know if these have been addressed in the Beta

You can do a quick forum search to read in detail the various specific questions we all have as well as numerous interpretaions folks have come up with ...

Thanks!!!!!


Familiar Pocket was originally in "Tome and Blood".. i think.
It's now in the Spell Comp or in one of the two wizard splat books. If ya need me to I can find out which one.. I'm just too lazy to trek upstairs at the current moment.

-S


Selgard wrote:
If ya need me to I can find out which one.. I'm just too lazy to trek upstairs at the current moment.

No need to stir yourself, although I appreciate the offer -- given the name, I can find the source book. Thanks again for the tip.

Andoran

In looking at the Alpha entry for wizard, the Familiar entry is an entire sub section giving a great deal of very specific information. I think the answer to the arcane bond object is clearly that it too needs a similarly detailed sub section.

Can Jason or another Paizo staffer please let us know if this is how it is handled in the Beta???


Familiar Pocket is in the "Complete Arcane" sourcebook.

Found a listing for it:
http://spelldb.com/showSpell.php?id=1891

(doesn't have the full info, just the name, location, and VSM info)

-S

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